Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Literary Extravaganza, Historic Sites, Pop-Up Bookstore, Music, and Tours... All Here!

A Literary Extravaganza Featuring a Pop-Up Bookstore in Uptown’s Former Borders Books

Chicago Writers House, in partnership with Uptown United, presents Chicago Book Expo 2011, a pop-up bookstore and literary spectacle in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood.  The event takes place November 19–20 and introduces more than 40 Chicago publishers of fiction and poetry to Chicago’s general readers.

Chicago Book Expo activities engage 20,000 square feet in two historic structures:
  • the first floor of the Goldblatt’s Building, former home to Borders Books (4720 N. Broadway); and
  • the basement of the Uptown Broadway Building, rumored to have been a speakeasy (4701 N. Broadway).
Hours are 10a.m.–6p.m. on Saturday, November 19, and 12–6p.m. on Sunday, November 20.

Auxiliary events include
  • the Preface Reading Series November 14–18
  • a literary nonprofit fair on November 19
  • a world-premiere commission of Chicago rock-band Joan of Arc performed to accompany Charlie Chaplin’s His New Job on November 19
  • architectural tours by Chicago Architecture Foundation on November 20, and 
  • a complete offering of author readings, children’s workshops and special programs.
The primary book fair activities are free and open to the public.  Joan of Arc and Chicago Architecture Foundation tours are ticketed events.  More information and regular updates will be available at: www.chicagowritershouse.org

Background:  Uptown has a long-standing creative reputation, understood historically through the development of early cinema and jazz and seen today with the entertainment district’s relevance to concert programming.  Beyond the music, Uptown is growing as a setting for literary arts.  Writers increasingly call Uptown home, and the neighborhood has attracted many young publishing ventures. While the spring closing of Uptown’s Borders Books was as a form of cultural loss, the literary energy of Uptown remains alive.

The theme for this inaugural Chicago Book Expo is “Speakeasy,” a reference to the hidden bars of prohibition-era Uptown (including our event space).  The notion of hidden highlights the potential to overlook local publishing efforts,
but Chicago Book Expo will provide readers with a means to speak easily with publishers, browse books, discover new authors and engage with the larger Chicago literary arts community.

Saturday’s performance by Joan of Arc will be a confluence of publishing, music and cinema in tribute to both a historical and contemporary Uptown.  Joan of Arc lead singer Tim Kinsella released his debut novel with Chicago’s featherproof Books this October.  Add to this Chicago Writers House’s commission — to perform live a new soundtrack to Charlie Chaplin’s first Chicago-made film, His New Job, produced in Uptown’s Essanay Studios — and the trifecta of words, music and film is complete. (Other acts TBA.)

Project Partners:  Chicago Writers House is a collective of writers and arts administrators engaged by the promise of a literate, creative community.  Uptown United works to encourage economic development to strengthen the community’s economic base, address broad issues pertaining to quality of life for Uptown’s diverse population and act as a network to encourage partnerships.  Chicago Reader and CHIRP Radio are media partners.  @properties and Cole Taylor Bank are venue sponsors.  Chicago’s 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, the City of Chicago’s Office of Tourism and Culture and the City of Chicago’s Publishing Industry Programs have provided additional support.

A list of partners and schedule of events is updated online at www.chicagowritershouse.org.

Ticket Information:  Chicago Book Expo primary events are free and open to the public. Exceptions include architectural tours and Joan of Arc. Architectural tours can be reserved in advance through the Chicago Architecture Foundation website (http://caf.architecture.org) or purchased at the Chicago Book Expo on Sunday, November 20. Tickets for Joan of Arc will be available at the door and in advance. As of press date, the venue is TBA but will be located in Uptown. Tickets are $10, or $5 with purchase receipt(s) from Chicago Book Expo. The venue and advance ticket information will be posted at www.chicagowritershouse.org.


  1. I love this and am excited to see an increase in cultural events that are both for the community and which bring people into our community.

  2. Sounds like a great event! Will definitely recommend this event to our residents at Reside Living who live near the area.

    Thanks for the post.